End of Watch surpasses a difficult task
End of Watch follows Officers Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena) as they patrol the dangerous streets of South Central in Los Angeles and give us a peek into the personal lives of these two men.
When viewing a film, I look for ways it distinguishes itself from others in its genre and with End of Watch being a cop film, this would be a difficult task. All try; most encounter failure, only a small percentage actually succeeds in differentiating themselves. End of Watch succeeds in a variety of ways.
The ingenious method employed to capture footage is the most apparent. Most of the film is viewed through a camera Officer Taylor carries and the mounted camera on the dashboard of their police interceptor. The clever camera work gives the film a sense of realism and adds a documentary feel to it. The creative camera work creates a tense feeling that anything could happen at any moment.
The acting is superb. The performances turned in by Gyllenhaal and Pena is the stuff Oscar nominations are made of. Michael Pena flexes his acting muscles here and would be done an injustice if he didn’t garner a best supporting Oscar nod. The two leads play incredibly well off each other, so much that if you didn’t know any better, you would think they had been friends for years.
End of Watch is not two hours of mindless violence, accompanied by unnecessary explosions that destroy entire city blocks. Don’t get me wrong, there is action, but nothing that isn’t essential to the story. End of Watch is an intelligent, heartfelt film that explores the lives of two men, who wear the black and blue and put their lives on the line every day. I strongly recommend this film to those who enjoy intelligent character-driven films that will have you laughing one moment and in tears the next. End of Watch keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout its 109 minute run. Leave the kiddies at home, the language is strong and the violence is graphic. A must see!
Adam Staten lives in Perry Township, is a movie buff and writes weekly movie reviews for the Web site Sticky Shoe Review.
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